Cleaning Vinyl Siding With a Pressure Washer (Tips & How To)

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 04/08/24 •  7 min read

Vinyl siding is a popular choice for homeowners who want a low-maintenance exterior for their homes. However, even vinyl siding requires periodic cleaning to maintain its appearance.

If you’re considering using a pressure washer to clean your vinyl siding, you’ll find everything you need to know to do so without damaging the siding below, so keep reading.

How Often Should You Clean Your Vinyl Siding?

In general, a good rule of thumb is to clean your vinyl siding at least once a year. However, if you live near a busy road or an open, dusty field, you may need to clean your vinyl siding more often.

When Shouldn’t You Pressure Wash Vinyl Siding?

Although pressure washing is an effective way to clean vinyl siding, there are times when it’s not appropriate. You should not use a pressure washer on your vinyl siding if it’s damaged or in poor condition.

Pressure washing can exacerbate existing damage and cause further problems.

Additionally, you should avoid pressure washing your vinyl siding if it’s painted, as the high-pressure stream can strip the paint.

What Should You Do if You Have Streaks on Vinyl Siding After Pressure Washing?

Streaks on your vinyl siding after pressure washing is most often caused by soap residue or an inadequate rinse. Start by rinsing the area with clean water to remove any soap residue.

If the streaks persist, try a specialized vinyl siding cleaner to remove any remaining dirt or grime and rinse the area again with clean water and dry it with a towel to prevent water spots.

How to Safely Clean Vinyl Siding With a Pressure Washer

Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning vinyl siding with a pressure washer:

Step One: Check the Condition of Your Siding and Windows

Before using the pressure washer, take a quick walk around the house to make sure that the siding is all intact and that no pieces of vinyl have become loose.

Look for cracks in the siding that water might penetrate and identify how the lengths of siding on long walls overlap.

If you do find defects or damage, you’ll find information on how to make small repairs to vinyl siding here.

Don’t forget to make sure all of your windows are shut and check to see that the caulking on those windows is in good enough condition that water won’t seep in.

More information about pressure washing your windows as well can be found here.

Step Two: Water the Soil Around the Perimeter of Your Home

Soaking the soil in the garden beds around the edge of your house will help to dilute any chemicals that are in the soap that you will use, so that they aren’t absorbed as easily by plants.

Step Three: Add Soap Concentrate to Your Pressure Washer

Pour multi-use soap that is formulated for pressure washers into the reservoir. Check the packaging to make sure the soap is safe for siding, windows, and sidewalks.

Step Four: Install the Soap Tip on Your Pressure Washer Wand

Install the soap tip to the end of your pressure washing wand. The soap tip provides a lower-pressure blast at a wider angle (60 degrees), which will allow the volume of soap to be distributed with wider coverage across the vinyl siding.

Step Five: Apply the Soap to the Siding

Turn on the pressure washer. As you begin to initiate the wand, avoid pointing up and refrain from directing the spray where the vinyl lengths overlap. If you stream water upwards or between the laps in siding, the water is likely to force behind the vinyl panels, penetrating the insulation. It is best to use a tall ladder when spraying.

If water gets trapped behind the siding, it doesn’t dry easily and leads to water damage. The same can be said when you target the spray into corners, so be wary of how the water is impacting the crevices where the boards end. These areas will still get misted by off-spray as you clean surrounding areas, but plan to wipe them clean with a dry towel.

Use the soapy spray to cover the vinyl siding, keeping the tip of the wand at a 45-degree angle to the window and trim. Aiming the wand at that angle will help to lift and remove dirt from beneath more effectively than blasting it straight on. You will find that the soap may run low every few minutes. Keep an eye on its level so that you can turn off the pressure washer and refill it periodically as you make your way around the perimeter of your home.

Use the depleted reservoir on as an opportunity to switch nozzle tips (refer to the next step) and rinse the area that you just applied soap to before the soap dries on the siding (which can cause streaks).

Step Six: Switch Your Pressure Washer Wand to the Rinse Tip

Turn off the pressure washer, and switch the tip on the wand to a general-use tip. A tip that delivers a 15-20 degree angle will provide a stronger pressure stream to effectively remove soap on the surface and dirt that has been loosened by the soap.

Step Seven: Rinse the Vinyl Siding

Follow the same spray technique as before, being careful not to blast upwards against the vinyl or into the corners, now that the pressure is stronger, the washer can do more damage.

Step Eight: Clean and Dry the Corners of the Siding

Use a dry towel to wipe down residue on the inner and outer corners of the siding. This also helps to absorb extra moisture in those sensitive areas that are more susceptible to water damage.

Conclusion: You Can Pressure Wash Your Vinyl Siding While Avoiding Damage

Vinyl siding is a popular choice for homeowners due to its low maintenance requirements, but periodic cleaning is still necessary to maintain its appearance. A pressure washer is an effective tool for cleaning vinyl siding, but it should only be used on siding that is in good condition and not painted.

It’s also important to take precautions to avoid damage to the siding and to ensure that water doesn’t penetrate the insulation. To achieve the best results, follow the easy step-by-step instructions above, including checking the condition of the siding and windows, watering the gardens around the perimeter, adding soap concentrate, applying the soap with the soap tip, rinsing the siding with the rinse tip, and drying the corners with a towel.

With these tips, you can effectively clean your vinyl siding while avoiding damage and maintaining its appearance for years to come.

thewriteDuffy

At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.